Game On! For this teen online entertainment is not just for fun – there’s a career to be pursued.

Student and Laptop by Enokson (http://www.flickr.com/photos/vblibrary/8465390145/) (Flickr image, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/deed.en

Student and Laptop by Enokson (Flickr image, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

All about Kate

I would like to introduce Kate (not her real name).  Kate is 17 years old and lives in suburban Brisbane with her parents and 19 year old sister. Kate spends her time trampolining – both training herself and coaching younger participants, playing her drum kit, watching TV, playing video games, , and reading A LOT of Manga. As a year 12 student at a local Catholic girls high school, Kate’s favourite subject is Japanese as this allows her to explore the culture that produces much of her favourite entertainment material, including anime, manga and video games. Each year Kate carefully puts together a new costume based on her favourite characters and goes to Supanova Pop Culture expo. One of her dreams is to go to Comic Con in the United States. Not content to play for fun, Kate plans to study game design after school finishes so she too can create amazing fantasy worlds and weave exciting stories through them.

I asked Kate about what she reads, the movies, games and music she enjoys and her use of online social networking spaces.

I have grouped the questions and added Kate’s thoughts at the end of each section.

Reading

What have you been reading recently?

What have you enjoyed or not and why?

What made you decide on what to read?

Do you discuss books/other reading material with friends?

Do you and your friends have similar tastes in reading material?

Do you think your reading tastes have changed much over the last few years?

Why do you think that is?

Kate reads some popular manga serials she has been following for a number of years although has been enjoying them less lately as the storylines appear to have become overly contrived. Her first interest came from anime shows on children’s television when she was a small child. She is now enjoying comics like Iron man and Deadpool as well as Webtoons .Kate enjoys Deadpool as it “breaks the fourth wall” by directly acknowledging the reader. Kate also identified that some comics have very strong social commentary. She finds out about comics and Webtoons from dedicated wikias – fan constructed sites that discuss new publications and offer critiques. Kate shares her tastes with some but not all of her friends and they discuss what they read frequently. Some of her friends read fan fiction which Kate is less interested in. The only conventional book reading Kate has done recently is for school and while she enjoys the complex narratives and characters she does most of her reading online. When she was younger Kate was frustrated by not being allowed to read books deemed by librarians as suitable only for older teenagers so is happy to have fewer restrictions now.

Movies and Television

How often do you go to the movies?

Do you normally go with family, friends or by yourself?

Do you see different movies depending who you are with?

Would you rather go to the movies or watch at home online or on a DVD?

What are your favourite TV shows?

Do you usually watch on a television screen or online?

Kate rarely goes to the movies and prefers to watch at home. She will sometimes go with friends for the social outing, family if there is a new release she is keen to see and her friends are not, or by herself if she really wants to see something nobody else is interested in. At the moment Kate is enjoying old movies more such as Star Trek so home is better.

Kate nominated Haven, Red vs Blue (web series), Arrow and Game of Thrones as current favourite TV shows. She likes supernatural elements and is not at all put off by violence.  She prefers viewing online so she can decide the timing and also revisit episodes.

Music

How would you describe your musical tastes?

Where do you find out about new music?

Do you think you have anything in common in your musical tastes with your parents, sister, friends?

When do you listen to music?

Kate likes lots of different kinds of music including some folk (Mumford & Sons) right through to Sauroxet which she describes as a kind of Norwegian Metal for children complete with dinosaur costumes. Most of her favourites are rock or heavy metal. Kate notes she grew up listening to old school rock music and nineties grunge constantly played by her parents and which she still likes. She shares some tastes with her sister and friends. She listens to music on her way home from school and as background when studying. She has currently been enjoying mashups on You Tube with a favourite being “Little Sickness” by Isosine. Unlike previous generations reliant on radio or television to hear about new music Kate often follows the suggestions offered by You Tube based on her previous choices.

Games and Social Networking

What are your favourite video games?

What so you like about them?

What social networking sites do you use?

Who do you interact with there?

What sorts of things do you discuss?

At the moment Kate is playing a lot of Saints Row 4 and Oblivion which are stand alone PC games, and Guild Wars 2 an online game where she is a member of a several guilds. She doesn’t associate with game contacts socially unless they are already friends, but does participate in online forums managed by the guilds which operate outside the game environment but she sees as an extension of game activities. Kate really enjoys the process of building worlds, creating diverse characters and games where there is a lot to do. She refers to “soul stealing” games where she becomes so immersed in the game she has no time left for a social life.

Kate has a Facebook presence but only uses it to check in with friends a few times a week. She leaves the chat function switched off and rarely has conversations there. She has no interest in Twitter or Pinterest type sites. She occasionally uses Tumblr but mainly to search for images, she doesn’t have her own site. Mainly her online interactions are on sites dedicated to her areas of interest, rather than general social networking.

Pop Culture Events

My final question was what is the appeal of dressing up and attending Pop culture events. Kate indicated she enjoyed being in an environment full of people with similar interests and being able to talk to the creators of the entertainment she most enjoys. Kate says dressing up is a way of showing respect and gratitude for the entertainment she enjoys and is also”just good fun”.

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4 Comments

Filed under Week 10

4 responses to “Game On! For this teen online entertainment is not just for fun – there’s a career to be pursued.

  1. mskatierowe

    Great interview Annette! It sounds like Kate has a very varied pop culture experience. I love that she has the ambition to go to Comic Con one day – think that would be on many people’s bucket list. I was interested to read about the only conventional book reading Kate has done lately is a set text for school and thought how important it is that librarians provide varied reading for youth, not just traditional books, for young people like Kate who like Manga etc. I know many public libraries have purchased manga and other graphic novels for youth but it would be interesting to know whether school librarians are also building their manga, graphic novel, and comic collections. It is great that Kate has ambition to continue her love of gaming and design, there are so many courses at uni and TAFE now that she will have endless options which is fantastic 🙂

    • Thanks so much for your comment. You are right about the endless choices available for studying Game Design. I know it is a very competitive field but I am very much in favour of young people pursuing their dreams. I think it is incredibly important to do something you are really interested in and see where it takes you.

  2. A few students recommended Deadpool to me last year, and after reading it I can see why it appeals to high schoolers. It think it helps that its current run is being written by a comedian (Brian Posehn). Maybe more comedians should write comics! I’ve only watched the first few seasons of Red vs. Blue, but I enjoyed it even though I’m a non-gamer. Some of the absurdist humour could be used for teaching. I thought it was interesting how Kate used YouTube recommendations to discover new music. I think this kind of crowdsourcing is something that can easily be taken for granted. If you were raised on radio and television, your choices were a lot more limited. It’s great that young people like Kate are able to discover the things they enjoy and also people to share their interests. Makes you realise what’s “popular” is a lot more subjective these days!

  3. Annette, you had a great response to some interesting questions. The significance of events such as Supernova and Comicon are immense. I think perhaps the most important aspects of such dress up events is the ingenuity of the home made costumes. Rather than buying or hiring the costumes, the love of the fandom and the expression of that passion in the intricate care they take in detailing and producing costumes is inspiring,(I’d love even a fraction of that love and care in their assignments!).
    Once upon a time we encouraged students to plough through school and tick all the right boxes in order to gain entry into a relatively small selection of courses or careers. It is wonderful that now, their passions can take many paths and can lead them into courses and occupations where they already have a large degree of expertise.. Kate sounds so much like a few of my own students. Great to see a girl going into what has been a largely male dominated field. Thank you for posting such an interesting piece.

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